Posted by Jillian Walkus | Posted in ed 515 | Posted on 09-04-2013
This is Mary’s Remix using the app HaikuDeck. Scaffolding writing by using the repetition from Lenore Keeshing-Tobias’ poem I Grew Up, made writing a poem less intimidating. Students walked around taking many images of their communities using the iPads or their own phones; images could even be uploaded from students’ facebook accounts.
Posted by Jillian Walkus | Posted in ed 515, ed 591 | Posted on 28-03-2013
This week we started the novel Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera. Our first activity was to read the legend “How Maui Fished up an Island” which documents the formation of the lands known as New Zealand.
Using Susan Augstyn’s method for summarizing, students choose three key words in each sentence of the legend. The key words were then used a guide words during the students’ retelling of the story. Of course, the legends were retold using the Livescribe pens!
The recorded pencasts have been transferred to My Livescribe account and embedded into the “Livescribe Pens and Grade 10s” wiki. I notice considerable improvement in my students’ ability to paraphrase. A few students have included transition words and their own words/phrases in their retellings; Moses uses the words ” According to the legend… ” and ” The people believe that…..” My plan over the Easter weekend is to assess the recorded retells using our co-created rubric as I have only briefly listened to the pencasts while uploading them.
Shameless plug for Livescribe Smartpens!
I have found the Livescribe pen to be a wonderful tool to use in my English First Peoples 10 class. We worked out a few kinks in the process but my students and I are very skilled at using them now. I am getting very proficient at downloading and embedding pencasts into a wiki and have even uploaded the pencasts to each of my students Evernote e-portfolios. My students are getting better at using the pens and are no longer needing to record or re-record a session. I think this means two things– they have mastered using the pens and they are getting better at retelling.
If you are considering ways to use a Livescribe pen visit this googledoc as it contains a plethora of ideas for students, teachers, parents and administrators. I have been watching a number of Livescribe tutorials and have found one that has piqued my interest. Naturally it is tied in with assessment and feedback! It involves embedding a pdf pencast on top of a student’s written work. This would enable me to provide written and audio feedback and embed the pencast over the student’s written work. Sounds confusing right? I am going to figure this one out as it sounds like a great way to give oral and written feedback/feedforward to a student. My plan is to create a pencast assessment of each students’ New Zealand retell, print the rubric on Livescribe paper and overlay my pencast. Or maybe I need to create the pencast, save the rubric as a jpeg image and embed the pdf pencast ont top of the rubric. ???? hmmm……
Fortunately, I have located a website that has a distance education professor using this technique in his English courses and a Long Weekend to figure this new learning out. I am excited to learn about more Livescribe possibilities!
Posted by Jillian Walkus | Posted in ed 591 | Posted on 18-03-2013
On Wednesday March 13th my answer would have been that I learned TWO new things but as I reflect back on that day I realize that I learned so much more ! I have been learning (alongside my students, my colleague Sarah and her grade 2 students) about Livescribe pens and incorporating them into my English First Peoples 10 class.
First new learning
Archie put his earbuds in the end of the Livescribe pen so that he could clearly hear his little buddies’ recording when he was assessing their retelling.
Second new learning
My students were unable to email our asseessment rubrics to our Grade 2 buddies because our computer lab does not have Outlook configured for each computer. We enlisted Mr. Williams’ (my colleague next door) help and he suggested we save each marked up rubric to the Network in a specific folder. This would allow Mrs. Soltau Heller’s class to access the rubric documents on our district server. The assessed rubrics were now in one common place accessible by both classes.
I must say that learning from my students and colleagues is not entirely new for me but I was extremely excited when I realized that others had the answer to “my little problems.” Learning from others is easy, sometimes it involves (1) asking for help and (2) observing others in their process. The most amazing thing was that Archie had gone (quietly) back to his desk with the Livescribe pen & assessment rubric and effortlessly put his earbuds in the end of the pen. I had never thought to do this, in fact, I had never even noticed the little connector; I realized at that moment that I am very different from my students. I do not really like Prensky’s (2006) term “digital natives” but I think that Archie is probably more inclined to expect that the Livescribe pen,or any other ICT, would have that feature. My students were all cognizant that there was a place to connect your headphones or earbuds into–they thought I was a little bit over the top in celebrating that Archie had “discovered” and taught me something new.
My “AHA!” moment was their “No, Duh!” moment.
Reference: Prensky, M. (2005). Listen to the Natives. Educational Leadership, 63(4), 8-13.
Posted by Jillian Walkus | Posted in ed 515 | Posted on 17-03-2013
dropout [ˈdrɒpˌaʊt] n
1. (Social Science / Education) a student who fails to complete a school or college course2. (Sociology) a person who rejects conventional society3. (Team Sports / Rugby) drop-outRugby a drop kick taken by the defending team to restart play, as after a touchdown4. (Electronics) drop-outElectronics a momentary loss of signal in a magnetic recording medium as a result of an imperfection in its magnetic coating
The word dropout has such a negative connotation— it becomes about the person or the course and I have come to the conclusion that it is really about neither—it is about seeing learning as a continuum. I am choosing to see my drop-out/drop-in as “a momentary loss of signal” as in the electronics definition above. One of the most reassuring aspects of participating in #etmooc has been the opportunity to pick up where I last left off and take what I want.
When I consider the strengths and stretches of open education, which to date has only been participating in some simpleK12 sessions as well as enrolling and participating in #etmooc I note the following:
Things that work for me
Accessible and cost effective. From a remote and rural small town I am able to access learning that is current, relevant to my practice and affordable (if not free).
Connected to a number of teachers/learners. Through social media or an open community I can connect with like-minded individuals and be helped –this was the case a number of times in the first two weeks of #etmooc as I tried to connect via skype, twitter or even get my Toontastic video posted to my blog. I also tweeted out a question about assessment and oral language and had Anne Davies reply to me—she was very kind and asked me to call her at home on Family Day to offer assistance to me.
Archived. Open learning can fit into my schedule—sometimes it was impossible to participate in a 4 pm #etmooc session so the option to watch a session at my own convenience was beneficial. The chat on the side is interesting and helps me as I can question others or ask for clarification but I find that piece missing when it is not in real time.
Ungraded. I can drop in when I feel like (this would obviously be different if I was taking a course for credit) and feel that this shifts the focus more towards learning for the sake of learning instead of getting a mark.
Things that make me wonder/wander
Sheer size. How can such a large student-teacher ratio create a personalized learning environment `and how would a teacher manage that? I wonder if this is what Verena Roberts calls peeragogy—where everyone is a teacher and learner? How are open education environments able to manage the different abilities and interests of all participants? In Alec Couros’ September 21, 2012 blog post he discusses moving towards an unmooc where learners determine the nature of the journey and I think this is a pretty cool idea. I think it parallels the idea of personalized learning that the BC Ed Plan alludes to and may even be a direction that moocs take in the future.
Trust and anonymity in a public place. At times when writing on forums or blogs I feel that I am guilty of skimming the surface instead of “getting down and dirty” with some educational issues because it is a public forum. I find that sometimes the best learning for me occurs after the record button is off and people are candid with one another. I am not sure how one would create an open learning environment where people can freely express their thoughts and learning as everything is cached and you may only want to put your “best” out there—especially if you are being graded or are fearful that there could be retribution. This makes me think of Jarrod Bell’s comment that “the internet was never meant to private.”
I have been feeling somewhat guilty about my inability to follow every #etmooc session but Jill Walters’ recent blog post mentioned Darren Kuropatwa’s session and it has piqued my interest so now I am going to spend time this weekend watching the archived session. Is an archived session still an open education experience? It is for me at this time—the signal was momentarily lost but I am back in!
P.S. I have even RSVP’d for CEET’s Beyond the Bake Sale—Building Community in Schools and Districts session in April. I will be participating but can’t guarantee a certificate of completion
Posted by Jillian Walkus | Posted in ed 591 | Posted on 14-03-2013
In a previous post I wrote about how we traveled to see our reading buddies and recorded them retelling a story to us. Unfortunately, only one group successfully recorded the retelling. We sure learned a lot in this process!
As a class we played back the recording by touching the pen to the page–we were able to hear the students talk and draw. The next step was to attach the pen to my laptop and transfer the data from the pen to the Livescribe Desktop software. It seemed pretty simple but I had a hard time figuring out how to transfer the uploaded page to My Livescribe (my personal folder of pencasts). After a few mishaps I figured out that I could left click on the page and a drop down tab would appear. I could then select send to My Livescribe.
Livescribe allows you to send the file to a number of other applications–your computer, email, Evernote, Facebook, googledocs, google sites, Microsoft OneNote as well as your mobile device.
Once I selected where I wanted to send the file I was then prompted to decide whether I wanted to send pages only, pages with audio or audio only. I chose pages with audio because I wanted the students’ drawings to appear as well. This is what the pencast looks like when it is on My Livescribe. I choose to make it public so that I could embed the file into a wiki.
You can click on the embedded pencast above or follow this link to the only recording that worked during our first session with our little buddies at Eagle View Elementary. If you decide to listen to it just click on various points of the pencast to hear the recording. You do not need to play all 5 minutes of the pencast –press play to start it but then you can click your mouse on various dots or pens marks on the page. I suggest viewing the pencast in full screen mode.
This pencast illustrates how great the Livescribe pen is for writing and outlining but the large tree is proof that they are not so great for coloring!
Posted by Jillian Walkus | Posted in ed 591 | Posted on 11-03-2013
My class and I made an iMovie trailer today after our Grade 2 buddies from Eagle View Elementary visited our English class. If you are interested in viewing it please click on the link below. Our little buddies retold the story to us and we recorded it with the Livescribe pens. Tomorrow we will use the Grade Two created retelling rubric to assess their recorded sessions.
Posted by Jillian Walkus | Posted in ed 591 | Posted on 08-03-2013
In a previous post I mentioned how simple the Livescribe pens were to use. I think I should be very truthful –they are simple to turn on, simple to demonstrate, simple to practice with but when you travel to an elementary school and use them with your Grade 2 buddies they are far more complex!
When my English students and I met for class the day after our visit to Eagle View Elementary we quickly discovered that only 1 out of 4 recorded sessions was successful. I was disappointed about the failure to record properly but my students were excited to partner up again for a “do-over.” We are not sure why three books with writing and dots did not record but students’ inferences include: making a dot and then pressing record, not pressing record at all, or allowing our little buddies to “take control” of the pen and not checking to ensure that recording was happening. We decided that we would need to practice retelling the story again with the pen to ensure that we knew how to record successfully.One of my boys, did not want to re-try using the pen ( “it’s gay and I’m probably gonna be away on that day, anyways”) but was perfectly happy to type out the instructions on a googledoc. I showed him how to copy an image into his googledoc and he marveled at how ‘legit’ his instructions look with the addition of a digital image. With the help of our CYC worker my student was able to go to our District Resource Centre later in the day and laminate his instructions!
These instructions will be included in every Livescribe pen, book and envelope set.
We listened to our one successful recorded session and my students were quick to note that background noises were very audible. One student stated that he and his group had a hard time focusing on recording their rendition because they could hear a group in the room talking about a different part of the story when they were recording. Recording in a private room was suggested as the best option. Two students created a list of available offices or empty classrooms in the building during this block so that groups could record privately.
As we played back the successful recording I was dismayed to hear myself speaking so much and so loudly. My student does a great job of being a big buddy but you can barely hear him as he is very quiet. He is very patient and guides his buddies gently with guided support and instruction. As a class we discussed how we could get better quality voice and sound during our recorded sessions. I suggested telling Mrs. Walkus to “can it” which was good for a few cheap laughs. My students suggested a trial recording session with their buddies first– a “sound check” prior to recording.
Another factor that contributed to poor sound quality was that when a student drew with the pen we could hear the scratching of the pen during the recording. This was not so noticeable when a child spoke clearly while drawing but it was very noisy if they colored-in an area for an extended amount of time. My students felt that telling their buddies to use the pen to outline only would alleviate that problem.
This Livescribe adventure has been a learning journey for myself and my students. We have worked together on problem solving how to make the next session with our buddies successful. I have learned that it is not just about a “good idea” it is also about the execution of the idea. We may not always get things right the first time but we can figure out how to get there the next time. The Livescribe pens and Grade 10s experience has taught me to model that learning (with/about technology) is a process–it can be disappointing, frustrating but also very exciting and rewarding.
The next learning step for me will be downloading the pen’s data to my computer and posting a pencast.
Posted by Jillian Walkus | Posted in ed 591 | Posted on 05-03-2013
Today in English class we created a retelling rubric that is aligned with the anchor text we are using for our Grade 2 buddies. My students have read and re-read the text many times and are quite familiar with the story. This past week we have been focusing on finding the main idea in different reading passages so my students were very quick to note the anchor text’s main idea but they had many different versions of the story when they practiced retelling it. I had the Grade 10s retell the story using a very simple table that our grade 2 buddies will use when they retell the story using the Livescribe pen.
The Grade 2 students will draw what happens in the story using the Livescribe pen and it will simultaneously record their writing and their oral retelling. Last Wednesday, my students practiced retelling the first two pages of the story during our Livescribe pen introductory class. Enthusiasm seems to be on the rise– my students really like the anchor text and have expressed excitement about their role as mentor.
Many of the students in my class have only been exposed to rubrics and rubric language this year in my class–for some students today was the first time they have co-created criteria. Surprisingly, a few were not even familiar with the approaching, meeting and exceeding expectations language. Today we discussed the following criteria: Characters, Setting, Problem and Solution and used only a 3 point scale (not yet meeting, approaching and meeting expectations ). It was exciting to listen to the students discuss who were the main characters and what characters must be included in the retelling categories. My students quickly figured out (own their own) that starting at the meeting expectations might be an easier way to create the rubric as they could then work backwards with less description in the other two categories. As one young man stated, ” The retelling would probably be really basic in the not yet meeting category so if we fill in what we know as the meeting or even add an exceeding expectation category we could work our way backwards.”
Posted by Jillian Walkus | Posted in ed 515 | Posted on 04-03-2013
Weeks ago I posted an exciting opportunity for my linear English 10 students but at this point in time we have not made contact with our partners. I was issued a username and password by the IT department at Karla’s school and I was able to view and read the Minnesota students’ blogs. So far Karla and I have shared a googledoc with my students’ names and blog addresses. We are now awaiting username and passwords for all my students.
I had all my students create blogs using blogger and made sure their identities are protected. I am concerned that Karla’s IT department may not allow her students to view my students’ blogs as we are using blogger and each student has their own blog as opposed to a blog linked to a class account.
My students were very excited to know that we will blog with others but it is taking a very long time to get authorization from the other school’s IT department. We will continue posting on our own blogs once a week and will start replying to our own classmates’ posts in anticipation of our cross-border experience.